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A master resume saves time in the job hunt

By Kip Carlson

Looking for a job requires time – sometimes a lot of time.

Every now and then you’ll connect with the perfect position and be hired on your first application. More often, you could apply for a half-dozen jobs, or a dozen or more, before landing a position.

Because you want to tailor your resume to the job you want, that can mean creating a lot of resumes. And because many companies want you to apply online, that’s a load of applications to fill out.

But there’s a great timesaver that you can use – and you can use it for years: the master resume.

Your master resume is a document listing every skill, every certification, every job, and every volunteer activity you have had – ever.

We recommend investing a couple of hours getting all of the information together, keep it on your computer or a USB drive, and keep it updated with each new experience, skill, or certification that you gain.

Once you’ve put all that together, your master resume will come in handy in several ways:

Having a master resume constructed means that when a job comes open – perhaps one with a closing date in the next day or so – you don’t have to scurry all over the house hunting for information to complete an application or create a resume in a hurry.

If you’re applying for a number of jobs, you can save a copy of the master resume for each job, name it for the job for which you’re using it, and then tailor it to that job. Simply keep the items that pertain to the job and eliminate the other material rather than start a whole new resume for each job.

Many online applications ask for every job you’ve had for the past five years, or 10 years – and some may go back as far as 20 years. The master resume holds all of that information. Again, you don’t have to track it down every time you’re filling out an application. Just as good, when you go to fill out the online application, have your master resume open; you can cut and paste information into the application rather than type it in.

So, how do we put one together?

First off, don’t worry about the length: it doesn’t have to be limited to one or two pages. It could be three pages, or five pages, or 15 – it doesn’t matter because this isn’t one you’re handing in to anyone. Its purpose is storage, and the more complete this document is, the better. You never know when some odd job from your past may give you a bit of experience that would be useful in some offbeat hybrid position that an employer has open.

To make it useful for online applications, you’ll want to include a few things that don’t generally go on a resume: how much you made, who your supervisor was, and the street address and phone number of the employer, to name a few.

Other than that, the master resume is much the same as a resume you’d put together for any job – just a great deal because since you’re including all of your skills and experience rather than just the ones that are relevant to a particular job.

The Career Services staff has a template available for a simple but complete master resume; it’s a Word document available to all Chemeketa students and graduates.

If you’d like a copy, e-mail and we can send it as an attachment.

For more tips on completing a master resume, make an appointment to see a Career Services staff member for one-on-one help. Career Services is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Bldg. 2-115.

Kip Carlson is a student employment specialist at Chemeketa’s Salem campus.

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